Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

New Controversy over Black Hat Presentation 144

uniquebydegrees writes "InfoWorld is reporting about a new controversy swirling around a planned presentation at Black Hat Federal in Washington D.C. this week. Security researcher Chris Paget of IOActive will demo an RFID hacking tool that can crack HID brand door access cards. HID Corp., which makes the cards, is miffed and is accusing IOActive of patent infringement over the presentation, recalling the legal wrangling over Michael Lynn's presentation of a Cisco IOS hole at Black Hat in 2005. Black Hat's Jeff Moss says they're standing by their speaker. A news conference is scheduled for tomorrow AM." Update: 02/27 20:10 GMT by Z :InfoWorldMike wrote with a link to story saying that the presentation has been pulled from the slate for Black Hat, as a result of this pressure.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Controversy over Black Hat Presentation

Comments Filter:
  • Ooh! Ooh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:08PM (#18168414)
    Hat Fight!
  • by Chacham ( 981 )
    Controversy at a conference?

    This may generate as much interest as Darwin's debate.
  • What hack? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jordan Catalano ( 915885 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:13PM (#18168488) Homepage
    Aren't HID cards passive? Last I checked, they just reported a serial number.

    So what is this "hack"? Recording and replaying the serial is nothing new.
    • Re:What hack? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:38PM (#18168802) Homepage
      also how is it new? I did this 2 years ago with a kit I bought off the net. It will read a prox card and clone it. I scared the crap out of the Director of security into actually enforcing security policy after demonstrating how his "uncrackable" card access security was incredibly easy to get by.

    • by Zappa ( 26961 )
      Security by obscurity ?
      If its really only RFID with a number sent out, then the system is broken by design.
      If you check out possibilities, a public key system identifying with the "house PKI" would be about the only way to get along in a somehow safe way.

      • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
        It's not really anymore broken than a regular pin and tumbler key lock. Sure, with this you can copy somebody's key by walking by them, but I bet it would be pretty easy to get an image of a key in somebody's pocket too... Just an IR camera would probably do the trick.

        At least with the RFID system, if you try to brute force the door it can disable access and call the cops after a certain number of failures. You can try keys off a ring, or pick at a physical lock all day as long as nobody happens to see you.
        • Sure, you could make this a lot more secure, but it's not any worse than regular locks. It's basically the same as regular locks but with easy revocation.

          And with a huge false sense of security. Oh, and it costs a lot more.

          So, exactly what's the benefit again? Aside from the fact that employees can act all cool, by waving their badges at a sensor instead of sticking a metal piece in the door?
          • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
            Like I said, the benefit is convenience and flexibility. You can have more complex rules than with master and sub-master keys. You don't have as great an expense to change the locks when somebody loses their key, you can have time based rules, etc...

            They're not about additional security over traditional keys. They're about convenience. If anybody gets a false sense of security from these devices, it's because they didn't do their homework. The fact of the matter is though, that even with the flaws that are
        • The problem with prox for locks is that keys can be copied invisibly and perfectly in one pass. With physical keys the locksystem is compromise-evident (in the event of key loss) and physical keys are "hard" to copy from an image.

          If you're the target of a determined and specific attack neither system will hold up, but with prox keys you're vulnerable to more casual attacks of opportunity. (Once the equipment to clone cards becomes widespread, anyway.)

          The key management advantage for cards is huge, though,
          • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
            With physical keys the locksystem is compromise-evident (in the event of key loss) and physical keys are "hard" to copy from an image. [...] If you're the target of a determined and specific attack neither system will hold up, but with prox keys you're vulnerable to more casual attacks of opportunity.

            Is that really true though? It doesn't seem to me that you'd need any more specialized equipment to copy a physical key from an image (especially if you can get your hands on a blank, which isn't hard) than it
            • For the prox card:

              Portable reader
              Blank card/chip
              Writer interface

              Actually, no. You just need a cloner to record and replay the signal. It's cloners - such as what's described in TFA - that make attacks-of-opportunity a viable threat. And it's this threat that - while pretty unlikley - drove me to crypto-enabled cards.

              See, I work in a medical clinic with several primary care docs. They're over at the hospital quite often, doing rounds and whatnot. The hospital uses HID prox badges (so far as I know) f

    • Nearly every HID card out there is passive and will give anyone that passes the right kind of reader in front of it the numbers on the card. I'm not sure why this warrants its own talk or is viewed as a "breakthrough" of any kind.

      I'm not smart enough to do it, but a very interesting project for those with the talent would be building a hardware device to spoof cards and brute force access control systems like most parking structures and numerous physical building access control systems. I'm not aware of an
      • by gclef ( 96311 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:22PM (#18169370)
        The BlackHat speaker isn't presenting it as new...what he *is* doing, though, is giving away schematics to build devices to do the reading and cloning. That's what's getting HID's attention. Lots of people knew you could do this...not so many had a clear schematic & parts list to actually go *do* it.
      • I may be wrong in assuming this, but it seems likely that the security system would detect a brute force attempt pretty quickly.

        Even if it doesn't, halfway competent security staff would notice the attempt right away. One of the guys here showed me how their monitoring system works once - any time someone uses an invalid card (whether it's deactivated or just doesn't have access to that door) or the door is held open too long, or anything else out of the ordinary happens, the security cameras take snapshots
        • Cameras are only good if you are in range of the cameras. Anyone with an antenna with a decent gain can break at least a front door (I don't know if they give off any sort of confirmation other than an LED) reader without much personal risk.
    • Re:What hack? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by peacefinder ( 469349 ) <> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:18PM (#18169326) Journal
      Basic HID Prox cards just report a serial number. HID also makes a version that has some cryptographic component, called iClass. When I spec'd a security system last year, I insisted on crypto-enabled cards and readers. (We ended up with HID's iClass.)

      If this is just a tool to clone HID Prox cards, then it's nothing new... but it'll make me look good to my boss. (Sweet!)

      If it's a tool to spoof iClass readers then it's new, a pretty big deal, and I just wasted a few thousand bucks. (Boo!)
      • A reasonable way to use a serial prox card would be to combine it with a PIN - even a short one - to prevent someone who has a cloned card from getting in without social engineering.

        Something you know
        Something you have
        Something you are
  • In other words... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:15PM (#18168508)
    "Your door is secure because bad guys would have to infringe on our patents to open it!"
  • by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:15PM (#18168510)
    They have a patent. Therefore, no one can break their security. It would be illegal.

    I'm convinced.
    • by physicsboy500 ( 645835 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:31PM (#18168724)

      They have a patent. Therefore, no one can break their security. It would be illegal.

      It's also ironic that the US Patent & Trademark Office uses HID cards on their doors...

      A circular protection that can not be broken

      • Just a thought, would this be an indicator as to who has purchased the card duplicator kit? If the door to the patent office is locked:
        1. duplicate a working card.
        2. open door to the patent office.
        3. profit!

        "The end justifies the means." - Sophocles
      • A circular protection that can not be broken

        I think that qualifies as "broken by design".

        Can't break what's already broken though...

        So if it ain't broke, don't- Uh, gimme a moment here... I think- Oh, oww! My head...
    • That's what corporate America believes. That the legal system is better protection than a firewall or proper security measures. There's only one problem with this belief: The breach happens before the defense kicks in. Where the cost of such a breach is shareholder confidence (isn't happening yet, too many bullshitters spinning too many lies), national security (hey, NSA and CIA actually *do* have security), or invasion of privacy (oh, that's why it doesn't matter, you just have to issue a hollow apology af
    • It really makes no sense. The WHOLE point of patent applications being public is so that people can study (and improve on) them. Private individuals are free the build, study and even improve on patents (and they can even patent their improvements). In fact, it is conceivable that he could invent a solution, patent it, and then force HID to pay him to use his invention.

      Giving a demo or publishing a paper is in NO WAY a patent violation. If he were building and selling a device that relied on the patent,
    • by noz ( 253073 )
      If noone gives a presentation, does the flaw really exist?
  • by doroshjt ( 1044472 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:18PM (#18168556)
    The comment "For someone to be able to surreptitiously read a card, they'd have to get within two or three inches and get into the same plane as the card," by Kathleen Carroll, a spokeswoman for HID's Government Relations. Thats not hard to do at all in the federal world. Ride the metro around 7:30 on a weekday and almost every person on it has a proximity badge around their neck or on the belt along with their ID badge. Its like showing the world your cool that you work at the agriculture department or something. But I've seen everything from State Department badges, treasury, and justice department badges on full display on super crowded metro trains.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 ( 468275 )
      I think part of the reason for this (besides the obvious penis-length contest, which is definitely true -- IIRC what's important isn't what's printed on the cards so much as the color, e.g. white for USG employees, pink for contractors, etc.) is because you're told in security training to always keep the cards on your person, and not put them in a laptop bag / briefcase / purse. So people keep them hanging near their keys at home and put them on as they're leaving.

      You really wouldn't want to encourage peopl
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gregmac ( 629064 )

        I think the solution is just to issue everyone a metallic container, which slips over the card and covers the portion of it that contains the antenna. Maybe you could even design one that would reveal (through a clear front) the name and picture of the bearer, but cover the back of the card and keep it from being read.

        How about just use magnetic stripe cards? The only way to read it is to physically slide it through a reader.. if you have to 'open' your RFID card to get the reader to recoginize it, then it's just as simple to slide it through a reader on the wall, but probably much cheaper.

        Yes, RFID is cool and all, but in a lot of ways people are using it as solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

        They're starting to put it in credit cards, which just makes no sense to me at all. Instead of sliding it through a reader

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Magnetic stripes are notoriously fragile and unreliable. Get your card too close to a decent magnet (more common than you think), and it's now unreadable. RFID saves a lot of administrative work in replacing cards that have been demagnetized. It would really suck being on-call and not able to get into our data center. My boss does not want to be woken up at 3am on a holiday weekend because the stripe on my card wore out.

          It's common now for cell phone cases to have magnetic flaps on them. The only reaso
          • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @03:27PM (#18170418) Homepage Journal

            You know, in fifteen years of carrying a credit card, I have never had one fail. The high-coercivity mag stripe cards are darn near indestructible. By contrast, the low-coercivity cards that they use at some hotels... I've had them just suddenly fail on the third or fourth use and have to be reprogrammed multiple times in a single night (and about the fifth time I had the same card reprogrammed, they tossed it in a trash can and programmed a fresh one for me, which never failed again).

            Put simply, low-coercivity cards suck, but high-coercivity cards are pretty solid. Just don't cut corners on your card programmers and you'll be fine.

        • Some places do. My former employer, which shall remain nameless, used swipe cards for access. There was talk of switching to RFID cards, but it was just about the time that the first vulnerability reports came out (little more than a year ago), and they apparently had someone who listened and decided that the system worked well enough as it was currently, and better not to mess with it. Either that, or the budget money evaporated. Choose whichever explanation you prefer.

          But I think they're still using swipe
      • DoD policy: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HBI ( 604924 )

        Wear badge between neck and waist level at all times when on premises.

        Put card away when off-base.

        Never use card as a civilian-side ID.

        Spent 5 years living this.
      • by Rick17JJ ( 744063 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:08PM (#18172228)

        Several companies already make RFID blocking wallets. Presumably something similar could easily be designed for ID badges. I don't know for sure, but the wallets are probably lined in a way to make it act like a Faraday cage []. Here are examples of RFID blocking wallets:

    • by regen ( 124808 )
      There was an executive order issued last October that mandates replacing all government office access badges be replaced with cryptographically secure smart cards.
  • by TheWoozle ( 984500 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:22PM (#18168604)
    Security is constant vigilence. Certain tools come in handy, but they are not by themselves security. Security is either part of your corporate culture and SOP, or it is not. You can't buy something and tack it on to make your business secure. The sooner PHBs learn this, the sooner we can get past all this nonsense.
  • by Odiumjunkie ( 926074 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:23PM (#18168626) Journal
    From TFA:

    > HID has sent a letter to IOActive, a security consulting firm, accusing Chris Paget, IOActive's
    > director of research and development, of possible patent infringement over a planned presentation,
    > "RFID for beginners," on Wednesday, a move that could lead to legal action should the talk go
    > forward, according to Jeff Moss, founder and director of Black Hat.

    I, for one, take comfort in the fact that HID Corp can sue anyone that breaks into my workplace after cloning my security card.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
      Risibility? Wow, that looks like a pretty obscure word. I don't think I've seen it before, I had to look it up.
      • Haven't you seen The life of Brian? "Do you find something... wisible... when I say the name BIGGUS.......... DICKUS???"
  • until you stop the toy when the door lock clicks.

    countermeasures: use longer ident numbers when programming the things. put a GOOD camera above the door or use an IR detector and if somebody stays at the door for a minute, the guard should use the intercom and ask them if they want to sleep in another doorway, or if they need to talk to a sheriff's deputy.

    moral: relying on any one layer of security is no security if somebody really wants in. multiple levels and somebody awake someplace who cares will fix
    • Actually, it captures the Card number from someones card if you bring it within a few inches of that card.
      Retains the number, and spits it back out.

      Reporting random numbers usually wouldn't work, as many access control systems will disable the reader after a pre-configured number of invalid attempts.

      As well, if this system is monitored, invalid card reads would litter the screen of an operator or guard station.

      Your other points about adding more layers of security are all dead on though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SuperBanana ( 662181 )

      countermeasures: use longer ident numbers when programming the things.

      Or do what the devices already do: have at least a second's worth of delay between them, log invalid access attempts, and have the reader beep each time a card's signal is detected.

      Slashdotters tend to be very arrogant about this sort of stuff. Did it occur to you that most of these concerns are obvious, and are both understood by security professionals and have been addressed to some degree?

      Example: even if you can clone the card

      • which is why my outfit is always cautioning workers to avoid "riders," don't let anybody pretend to be your shadow flitting by as the door closes... unless you see their badge.

        "hey, pard, where's your badge today?" costs nothing. adds 60,000 security persons to the force. even if half of them are just going through the motions day in and day out, it can stop a lot of riders.
        • Except that people do not like confrontation, especially with strangers which, by definition, is who they would be confronting in such cases.

          It is impractical to expect any significant number of employees to actually follow through on such plan, regardless of corporate policy.
        • don't let anybody pretend to be your shadow flitting by as the door closes

          One place I worked (early 90's) had powered revolving doors triggered by a card swipe, and there was barely room for one to get through the door. But the swipes were on podiums about 18 inches from the door, and the door started moving pretty quick, so you had to be ready to jump into the door before it started moving. The system tracked you as in or out, so if you swiped and didn't make it in, you had to explain what happened to a human guard.

  • Responsibility? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Diluted ( 178517 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @01:24PM (#18168646) Homepage
    From the article: "These systems are installed all over the place. It's not just HID, but lots of companies, and there hasn't been a problem. Now we've got a person who's saying let's get publicity for our company and show everyone how to do it, and it puts everyone at risk. Where's the sense of responsibility?" Carroll said.
    This blows me away. Rather than taking the responsibility for having a flawed security system, rather than having the responsibility as a company to say "Hey, yeah we know about this and we are going to fix it after 15 years," the company accuses the security researcher of a lack of responsibility for "revealing" how to exploit these systems. I feel like bizarro world has become the real world when I read these kind of comments.
    • by xsbellx ( 94649 )
      Yeah, that quote caught my eye along with:

      Asked why HID hasn't addressed the issue in more recent proximity card systems, after knowledge of RFID threats became common, Carroll said that doing so would cause "major upheaval" among customers.


      I can just picture this attitude at work:

      ME: Hey Boss, big security whole in our servers. We will have to start patching immediately. Might take several days.

      MANAGER: No, it's too much work for your team and it will upset the users. Go home, sleep well and we can look at this later.

      Next day...
      DIRECTOR: Let me introduce your new manager....

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's not the same thing. With Internet-connected servers, anyone who has access to the Internet is a potential attacker, knowledge of a vulnerability (i.e. automated exploit software) can spread extremely quickly, and it's easy to hide behind surrogates (i.e. proxies, botnets, etc). With door locks, the pool of potential attackers is a lot smaller, and the personal risk for an attacker is much greater.
    • "Asked why HID hasn't addressed the issue in more recent proximity card systems, after knowledge of RFID threats became common, Carroll said that doing so would cause "major upheaval" among customers."

      Apparently the "major upheaval" necessary to bring their product's security up to snuff is less desirable than the "major upheaval" that would occur if the currently poor security were exploited in a headline-grabbing, stock-price-swatting incident. Perhaps their risk-analysis number-crunchings have been tain

  • HID has a patent on breaking and entering? The USPTO has reached a new low. I think I'm going to get a patent on marijuana smoking. Or better, a patent on patenting patents! I'll control the entire patent industry! MWWWWHAHAHA!
    • by spun ( 1352 )
      I've patented a method for gaining karma by making posts about patenting the patent system. Expect a call from my fully battle-trained law-panthers.
  • [] Immune ID works in a very simple, safe and practical way. With Immune ID on documents, credit cards and credentials, the identification device on them will always remain deactivated unless the user activates them through physical touch. Without human contact, any reading and/or writing attempt will fail. Thus, your information is protected from harmful use. The user will also have a visual and/or audio confirmation included in the device*. Immune ID is an innovative protection syst
    • It may prevent the "stealing credentials on the metro" scenario, but does jack all against passive sniffing of a legitimate use. If it's being broadcast via any kind of radio carrier wave, it can be sniffed. The only way to have secure access cards is via physical contact (swipe, smart card, etc).

      Oh, and BTW, ImmuneID's website sucks. It's pure flash and resizes my browser. On that basis alone I would not buy your product nor recommend it to any of my customers.
      • Didn't you hear? ImmuneID prevents terrorism and "any possible threat"!
      • You hate when websites resize your browser too? Who doesn't? I'm not sure how to accomplish this through any other browser, but through Firefox, you can go into about:config, type dom.disable_window in the filter, and set all of those to true. doesn't change the fact that the site is evil for trying to resize my window, and in some cases, remove my address bar etc...
    • What does ImmuneID get you, that taking a conventional RFID card and putting it into a metallic badge holder wouldn't?

      It seems like it's major feature is a 'safety' that keeps it from broadcasting or receiving, unless activated by skin contact. In other words, an on/off switch. Not a bad idea, but you could just as easily take a regular passive card, and put it into a metal case, and then take it out when it needs to be used.

      Many people keep their cards in carrier-cases anyway (because they need to be remov
  • "Black Hat's Jeff Moss says they're standing by their speaker."

    You go DT, I mean, um, Jeff.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I thought you had to actually make something in order to infringe a patent. And patents, by definition, are public knowledge. If I stand up and read your patent to a crowd, how can you sue me?
    • Make and sell something.

      Nothing to stock an individual using a patent to build a one-off.
      • Except 35 USC 28 perhaps:

        "(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent." (emphasis mine)

        From: here []

        Not that I think HID's whinge has any merit whatsoever. Hell, even the first amendment should protect someone demonstrating a prototype cracking tool for the purposes of showing
    • ...will demo an RFID hacking tool...

      Presumably demonstrating (actually using) the tool would utilize what HID Corp. has patented. And you can't do that without some prearranged agreement with the IP owner. BTW here is a list of HID Corp. patents: O2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.h tm&r=0&f=S&l=50&d=PTXT&RS=AN%2Fhid&Refine=Refine+S earch&Refine=Refine+Search&Query=an%2F(hid+AND+cor poration) []

      • Making the tool: okay
        Using tool: okay
        Showing others how to use the tool: still okay
        Selling the tool: not okay.

        At this point, I'd say he's in the clear unless he's selling the tools or the schematics (though you probably can sell the schematics, since you apparently can sell access to the Patent database.) You actually have to make something and sell it to violate a patent - personal use is just fine.
    • by cafucu ( 918264 )
      He did create a program. The infringement must have been the way he implemented his hack.
  • A true blackhat wouldn't exactly demonstrate or publicise the flaws of existing RFID, now would he? He would be out there evangelizing the faulty products so as to enlarge his playing field :) White-Whitehat, Black-Whitehat, White-Blackhat, Black-Blackhat... it used to be simple...
    • Typical Americans. You concentrate only on the whitehats and the blackhats, while ignoring the plight of the yellowhats, brownhats and redhats. Shame on you!
  • by Tomis ( 972713 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:05PM (#18169152)
    If you base your security model singularly around patents instead of proper implementation, then there is something wrong with your security model.
  • I don't see how HID is planning on getting around the education & research exemption in the patent process.
  • Don't reveal this. Keep our secret. Heaven forbid that someone else find out that a 19 cent Bic pen cap -- err, new hacking tool -- can compromise our fancy electronic Tom Swiftian, door locks. Fsk the attempts of our customers to be well-informed. It could hurt our profits.

    (No thoughts about what it might do to their customer's profits after a few break-ins.)

  • Proximity vs RFID (Score:5, Informative)

    by cbeaudry ( 706335 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:16PM (#18169304)
    The article and this guy on the video seem to be confusing RFID and Proximity (125khz).

    Its really odd to hear them mention you'd need to bring the card up to 2-3 inches to the reader, when they keep talking about RFID.
    Its clearly proximity.

    Also the fool on the video mentions this as if its new, numerous websites mention how to do this and have for years.

    Proximity has its draw backs and EVERYONE knows this.

    Which is why HID HAS addressed it with new products. HID iClass readers. 13.56mhz, with Encryption between the card and the reader. After 2 roll-overs of public to private encryption keys, you no longer can just read the card with any reader you actually need to know the private key.


    RFID not what they are talking about.
    RFID /= Proximity
    RFID should not be used for access control (unlocking doors from 5 feet a way... seriously...)
    Proximity vulnerable (nothing new)
    HID iClass (13.56mhz proximity with Encryption) HID has a solution (makes me wonder why they never mention it though...)

    Disclaimer: I don't work for HID, but I'm a Sales Engineer for an Access Control company and we use HID readers or our own which are also Proximity.
    • After 2 roll-overs of public to private encryption keys

      What does that mean? Is there a paper online somewhere that describes the scheme?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cbeaudry ( 706335 )
        Maybe my (french canadian) english didint describe well what I meant.

        Basicaly, using the iClass readers, there is a basic encryption key between the card and the reader.
        Using a special card, a reader can be programmed with a NEW key.
        The reader now accepts the old (public key) and new (Private key).

        When an old card is presented to such a reader, the cards key changes to the private key after negotiation.
        After a while, you reprogram the readers to a SECOND private key.

        Now that reader ONLY accepts Private key
    • OK, I know nothing about these systems so I'm going to ask a stupid question. The very first time I ever saw an access control that opened a door lock when a card-bearer approached was in the giant Compaq retail/factory warehouse clearance outlet in Houston, more than a decade ago. (Great place. Old stock, reconditioned stuff, and odds 'n ends out the ying-yang, all at firesale prices and the staff actually worked for Compaq, meaning they knew what they were doing.) That system opened the door between t
  • From TFA:
    > Kathleen Carroll, a spokeswoman for HID's Government Relations group acknowledged that a letter was sent to IOActive but that it did not mention patent infringement. She said that the company has long been aware that its proximity cards are vulnerable to hacking but does not believe that the cards are as vulnerable as Paget suggests.
    > "For someone to be able to surreptitiously read a card, they'd have to get within two or three inches and get into the same plane as the card," Carroll said.

    • Why can't companies whose job is security do security right?
      Likely for the same reason that companies whose job is software can't do software right. (A) It's very difficult (B) Lowered standards/expectations of consumers (C) There's money to be made from a cycle of "upgrading"


    • "I don't like it when really big companies throw their weight around," Jeff Moss, founder of Black Hat conferences, said on the Tuesday conference call. "This threatens the whole conference business."

      What are you thinking, Jeff?

      In 2005, you canceled a presentation because you received a legal threat from Cisco. You demonstrated to any company out there, that if they don't want a presentation to happen, all they need to do is send a scary warning on some official letterhead, and Black Hat will cancel the p
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      i dont know why these companies incorporate in the first place if they are worried about being sued. you incorporate a company for each event with $1 assets and liquidate after each show. big deal. only way to get presentations pulled then is through injunction before the event. Dean
  • FYI, the new passports featuring RFID chips also have Faraday cage-like covers to block the transmission when the passport is closed. At least one article:,120292-page,1/ar ticle.html []

    From article: "Texas Instruments, a major manufacturer of RFID chips, confirmed that a properly designed cover could block the RFID signal.

    'Stitching a metal web into the cover creates a Faraday cage,' says V.C. Kumar, manager for emerging markets at TI. 'It kills the RFID signal.'"


    • by Arimus ( 198136 )
      Don't faraday cages have to be earthed somehow? (Just a minor point.... ;) )
  • by Critical Facilities ( 850111 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:51PM (#18169828)
    We're able to make copies of keys, yet they're still widely used as "security" measures in offices worldwide. Why is this any different? I've always been taught that a successful Security strategy is comprised of the 3 concepts:

    What you have - your ID badge/card
    What you know - the PIN associated with that card
    Who you are - a fingerprint/retinal scan/etc to be used with that card

    The point is, ok, someone figured out how to easily clone RFID enabled "access cards". Is it the manufacturer's fault that many places rely SOLELY on those badges for their perimiter/access control? If your facility is truly "secure", there should be at LEAST the requirement of a PIN typed in along with a card swipe as well as cameras, physical security, and other standard procedures. If your facility's management has opted to rely on the cards as the only means of controlling who enters and when, then blame that same management if a problem happens. The term "security" is very subjective. What might pass for your average office building would never pass at a serious Datacenter or other Critical Facility.
  • According to patent laws at present;

    1.130 Affidavit or declaration to disqualify commonly owned patent or published application as prior art.
    - Appendix R

    1.130 Affidavit or declaration to disqualify commonly owned patent or published application as prior art.
    (a) When any claim of an application or a patent under reexamination is rejected under 35 U.S.C. 103 on a U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication which is not prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(b), and the inventions defined by the claim

  • The work of computer security professionals to reveal RFID vulnerabilities is integral to ensuring that the privacy, personal security, and public safety of millions of Americans are properly safeguarded.

    With the Department of Homeland Security expected to release the Real ID regulations very soon and dictate what type of machine readable technology will be in every drivers' license and whether it will contain RFID chips, and the Department of State starting to roll out RFID-embedded passports, it is partic
  • This is an ancient security problem, spoofing the card response is pretty trivial. You can hear it on a Shady O'Rack shortwave radio. I showed this to an employer who was installing the cards, and they went ahead and installed them anyway.

    The thing is, you don't even need the hardware. All you need is a reader to read the number of the card, which you can do through a pocket, and get the 36 bit number. Then you can just ORDER a card or keyfob on line! You can't do that with a brass key, a legit locksmith wo
    • "You can't do that with a brass key, a legit locksmith won't sell it to you unless you have the original."


      Restricted keys, like the Medeco M3, won't be duplicated without a lot of paperwork and permission from the company who distributes the keys (even if you have the original key on you). Unrestricted keys--like, say, my house key--are duplicated by reputable locksmiths all the time. Just go to one and ask for a code cut of a specific blank.
  • by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @05:19PM (#18172414) Homepage Journal
    How can a presentation on a patented technology possibly infringe on the patent? A patent is already published information. Theirs are published here [] and here []. If you don't want information about your system known to the public, you don't get a patent.

    This is some of the most contemptible saber-rattling -- and caving -- I've seen this year.

  • I guess its time to retaliate, just release the code and the exploit to the world, anonymously of course.

    Take the bastards down, and anyone else who waves an attorney as an attempt to restrict knowledge.

  • to be there, I would find a copy of the pages taken from the handout, hit up a kinkos with about $300 and recruit a swarm of volunteers to run around the conference like paperboys, handing out flyers and setting out stacks of them at every bench.

    And the last page would have a "you're number one" on the bottom.
  • It's a painful thing to have your deficiencies exposed in public.

    However, the RIGHT thing would have been to engage those people and see what could be improved. The WRONG thing to do is to abuse the legal system to prevent a public presentation - it simply draws more attention to the flaws and, more importantly, it offers a crystal clear illustration of the companies' attitude to a breach: they run away.

    Or, let me translate this: their action spells in bright letters not to even THINK of relying on HID to
  • IANAL, but patents are supposed to be "public knowledge". So someone who builds a machine based on my patent has done nothing If he tells someone about it, nothing wrong. If he improves on it, nothing wrong. Now, if he sells the improved machine, he will first need to negotiate a licence for the patented technology.

    In short, I don't think you can prevent someone from giving a talk about your patented technology.
  • Why should companies put effort into fixing their product when they can just suppress the information with a well-aimed legal threat? This will ensure that no one else will be able to get their hands on this very sensitive information, since the only place it could possibly be distributed is at Black Hat. Well done, HID Corp.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.